Tony Faust's

Anthony Edward Faust immigrated to New York City from Germany in 1853 at the age of seventeen. He moved to St. Louis after a brief stay in Dubuque, Iowa, where he settled in Frenchtown, an immigrant sanctuary south of the city along the Mississippi River.

Faust worked for some time as an ornamental plasterer. But in 1861, a month after the start of the Civil War, he was shot in the left leg when a soldierís gun accidentally discharged as Faust watched the volunteer militia march through the streets. No longer physically capable of working in the plastering trade, Faust decided to take up barkeeping, and opened a small cafť at 295 Carondelet in his Frenchtown neighborhood.

Faust's little bar thrived. In 1870, he moved it 20 blocks north to Broadway and Elm, next door to the Southern Hotel and across Broadway from the Olympic Theater, both leading institutions at the time. Faust renamed his restaurant Tony Faust's Oyster House & Saloon.

People loved Tony Faust. He was a short man with a ruddy complexion, bushy mustache and an ever present bowler hat.  He moved about his restaurant, visiting and joking with customers. He always had a good story to tell.

His name is synonymous with shell fish, and when he dies (if he ever does), he should be shut up in a clam shell, have crawfish for pall-bearers and have a monument of oyster shells. "Tony" is a self-made man, and has, furthermore, made a fortune. His capital was politeness, attention and a few dollars to start with, but these, like virtue, brought their own reward.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 31, 1876

Anthony Edward Faust The Southern Hotel, 1868

While Tony Faustís restaurant was a landmark in its own right, its early success built on its oysters, its business wasnít hurt by its location adjacent to the Southern Hotel. Built in 1863 and proclaimed by the New York Times to be "unsurpassed in any building of the kind in the land," the hotel was state-of-the-art and the largest in St. Louis. Tony Faust's Oyster House & Saloon stood on the southwest corner of the block and Faust leased the property from the hotelís owner.

On the night of April 10, 1877, a fire broke out in the Southern Hotel. The roof of Faustís restaurant was used by firemen to prop ladders up against the hotel during the fire. The restaurant was heavily damaged, but salvageable.
 

Destruction of the Southern Hotel, April 11th, 1877
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Plans to rebuild the Southern began immediately. Not to be outdone, Tony Faust set to work himself, the rebuilding of his restaurant culminating in a grand opening on July 4, 1877.

The new ladiesí parlors in the structure rebuilt upon the old site are models of beauty, convenience and elegance. The preparations for a grand opening on the Fourth are all complete, and promise one of the grandest occasions of the kind that our city has witnessed. Glass globes of variegated colors surmount the parapets on both the Fifth and Elm street sides, while one pyramid stands ready to throw its brilliant gas light upon the corner of the two streets. The varied attractions of the gentlemenís department, on Fifth street, with its lunch counter and choice edibles and potables, are too well known to need detail of description.

The department for ladies, however, is so complete and elegant as to place Mr. Faust at the very head of caterers in this regard, though he has long been known as the "Oyster King" and has held the same relation to St. Louis that Dolan has in New York. The new building has two stories with a piazza in front and is finely decorated in excellent taste. It is finished with linoleum floor covering, Austrian bent wood furniture and elegant chandeliers, and has a piazza in front ornamented with statues and shrubbery. The refrigerators, wine cellars, kitchens, etc., are provided over by masters in their line, the employers numbering altogether about twenty-five. There is no more charming or elegant ladiesí resort in St. Louis, nor is there one where every want can be so well supplied. The wholesale department is also on the Elm street front, where, in season, is found every variety of oysters, clams and fish that the East or South can furnish.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 3, 1877

In 1879, Faust created a "garden terrace" on the roof of his restaurant building. Opened every spring, when the weather turned warm, the terrace provided a garden-like setting with the comforts of a restaurant.

The ever enterprising Tony Faust has excelled himself in catering to the public taste by erecting over his oyster house and restaurant, corner of Fifth and Elm, a structure which he proposes to call the Southern Terrace. It is the only thing of the kind in the city or in the whole country. It is intended to be a quiet, out-door resort for summer evenings. It is a platform, or floor, 60 by 100 feet, with a broad stairway entrance from Fifth street. There is also an entrance from the ladiesí restaurant. At the bottom of the stairway on Fifth street are two ornamental gas lamp posts, and around the sides of the terrace are a number of fancy painted posts, with gas jets on the end. There is a flag pole in the center, and a splendid bar ornamented with mirrors at the east side. There are, also, along the outer edges boxes for flowers, shrubs and evergreens. It is intended to be made as much like a natural garden as possible. The Terrace is to be covered over the canvas during the day, but is to be uncovered in the evening and have no roof but the broad starry roof of heaven. There will be chairs and tables to accommodate about 250 people. It will be a delightful place to go and take a glass of beer or eat a good supper. Mr. Faust knows how to please the public, and his Southern Terrace will be a big success. It will be opened next Tuesday evening.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 25, 1879

Group of men drinking on Tony Faust's Southern Terrace, 1881
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In addition to serving oysters in his restaurant, Faust began selling oysters retail and wholesale as early as 1876. This side business was a valuable addition and it prospered. On April 1, 1880, Faust opened his Fulton Market under the Southern Hotel, adjoining his new building. The Fulton Market offered an impressive variety of fish, as well as vegetables, cheeses, wild game, canned goods and condiments. Faust guaranteed freshness and top-quality products to his customers.
 

Tony Faust's Restaurant Oyster House and Fulton Market, 1880s
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Tony Faustís Fulton Market in the new Southern Hotel building, at the corner adjoining his extensive restaurant and saloon, is a credit to the city. No Western city has anything like it, and few equals can be claimed by the East. From the outside, looking through large crystal plate glass, the passerby sees appetizingly arrayed in a glass refrigerator, the delicacies of the season. Fish from the St. Lawrence and the Gulf of Mexico, from the straits of the great chain of lakes and the pearly streams of Michigan, from the Columbia River in far-off Oregon, and from the Potomac in the east, from the Hudson and from the briny Atlantic itself. They are all there, fresh mackerel, pompano, bluefish, mountain trout, salmon, cod, bass of all shapes, and speckled beauties from the brooks. Nor is that all. The field and forest give up to this epicurean picture, while the rarest of vegetables and condiments artfully placed add beauty to the whole. Inside a loft ceiling that cost $1.800 in its ornamentation, a marble tiled floor, pure marble counters, upon which fish and game lie in provoking confusion, polished walnut cases against the walls, containing all the celebrated domestic and imported canned fruits, relishes, sauces, potted meats and fowl, curries and the dilettante only knows what.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 16, 1880

Tony Faust's restaurant had the advantage of being located in the theater district, across from the Olympic Theater. Visiting troupes stayed at the Southern Hotel and dined at Faustís restaurant. Actresses dined in the ladies' restaurant upstairs, among them such players as Julia Marlowe, Julia Arthur, Mary Anderson, Della Fox and Maude Adams. Among noted men of the stage who crossed the street for refreshments at Faust's after their turn at the Olympic were Edwin Booth, Lawrence Barrett, Joseph Jefferson, Roland Reed, James O'Neill and Maurice Barrymore. Faust hosted grand after-show dinners and toasted the actors and actresses on their performances.

Joseph Jefferson originated a dish which later became a Faust specialty. One night after a performance at the theater, he went to the restaurant for a midnight supper and, after poring over the menu without satisfaction, glanced up and said, "Quail on sauerkraut." The unexpected order was filled without question and the dish thereafter was a favorite.

Ten years after the Southern hotel fire, Faust tore down his restaurant and built anew. He had traveled around Europe studying architecture, kitchens, equipment and foods. When Faust held the grand opening for his new establishment in 1889, few could believe the size and luxury. Even the 72 foot by 107 foot basement, with high ceilings, wine cellar, laundry and cooking rooms, was state-of-the-art. The "magnificent, spacious bar" and gentlemenís restaurant were located on the ground floor, with the kitchen in the rear. The ladiesí parlor was located on the second floor, with its own entrance, decorated with oil paintings and mosaic flooring. Estimated to cost $98,000, the restaurant could accommodate 1,500 people.
 

Faust's Restaurant
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Dining room of Faust's Restaurant, 1890
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Dedicated to his business, Faust lived next door to his restaurant. He took customer service seriously and worked in tandem with his staff. He employed as many as 100 people at a given time, the majority German. Faust was known to be liberal with money, and his employees were likely paid well. Until 1895, every employee was allowed as much beer as he desired throughout the workday.

Tony Faustís restaurant was commonly referred to as the "Delmonicoís of the West." The Delmonico brothers adopted the Parisian style menu for their New York restaurant, which offered choices of foods with individual prices rather than set meals with set prices. Faust's menu offered the most extravagant Gilded Age dishes and a glittering array of liquors, wines and champagnes.
 

Faust's Menu, 1889
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By the turn of the century, Faust's had become the center of St. Louisí social life Ė the place where the rich, powerful and famous could always be found. Adolphus Busch lunched there almost daily, along with other beer barons and leading businessmen, at the "Millionaires Table." Busch and Faust were close friends and became in-laws when Faustís son Edward married Buschís daughter Anna Louise. They and a handful of other German-Americans were among the most powerful men in the city, influencing politics, economics, and culture. For a time, Anheuser-Busch brewed a specially branded "Faustís" beer that was sold in the establishment and at retail.

Faust was known for his New Year's Eve parties. Seats in his restaurant were often reserved a year in advance. In 1887, guests each received a card with a caricature of Faust getting out of bed on New Year's Day, with cherubs blowing trumpets and with salutatory messages in both French and German. The most sought-after seats were located at the Faust-Busch table.
 

Faust's Banquet Menu, December 29, 1896
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In the summer of 1906, while touring in Germany, Faust was involved in a accident. He was in a carriage when the horses were spooked and bolted. At age 70, Faust's injuries were serious. In the late afternoon of September 28, 1906, Faust's son Anthony received a cable that his father had died.

Faust's funeral was one of the most lavish seen in St. Louis, with a procession to Bellefontaine Cemetery that included 70 carriages of mourners and six wagons loaded with flowers. There were thirty-five honorary pallbearers, including Adolphus Busch. The active pallbearers were all longtime employees of Faust's beloved restaurant.

After his death, Tony Faust's restaurant was run by his son Anthony, until he fell ill in 1911. The St. Louis Catering Company took over operation until 1915, when Henry Dietz, Tony Faust's former chef, purchased the restaurant.
 

Faust's Dining Room, 1915
 
Faust's Menu, circa 1913
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The Southern Hotel saw its last guest in 1912 and the Olympic Theater's last season was 1916. Once part of a thriving city center, Tony Faust's iconic restaurant languished as the city's commercial and entertainment districts moved westward. While many prosperous St. Louisans still ate their lunch at Faust's, the night business fell off to so great an extent that Henry Dietz was forced to close the restaurant.

Tony Faust's restaurant closed its doors for the final time on June 30, 1916. German songs were sung by the waiters, some of whom had been employed at Faust's for more than thirty years.
 

The former Faust's restaurant on November 1, 1933, shortly before it was demolished.

In 1933, the Faust building was razed, along with the adjacent Southern Hotel building. When the Adamís Mark Hotel opened in the same general area in 1986, it gave a nod to history by naming its signature restaurant Faustís. And the Faust name lives on in St. Louis County. Faustís grandson, Leicester Busch Faust, and his wife donated their extensive estate to the county in the late 20th century to create Faust Park.

Works cited: Terry, Elizabeth. Oysters to Angus: Three Generations of the St. Louis Faust Family. St. Louis: Bluebird Publishing, 2014.


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